Rural Canadians learn from U.S. region: Part 8

During breakfast on the second day of our tour, Phyllisa DaSarno, Director for Economic Development, City of Ithaca (population 30,000), greeted our group. We had hoped to meet Ithaca’s young Mayor, Svante Myrick, but his schedule was already committed. At 27 years old, the Mayor of this city is among the youngest African American mayors in the U.S.

The tour of the Finger Lakes by rural small business owners from Norfolk County, Canada, was organized by Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development and sponsored by Ontario’s Southwest Tourism.

Finger Lakes Distilling

Brian McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling speaks to our group / Photo: Clark Hoskin

The first stop on our second day was Finger Lakes Distilling, makers of local whiskey, gin, vodka, brandy, grappa and liqueurs. About 80% of the distillery’s production is whiskey, using local corn, rye and wheat. Their award-winning gin uses 75% local grapes as the base spirit. We met Brian McKenzie, President, and his staff provided tastings of the spirits to those in the group who were interested.

Brian and Thomas McKenzie (no relation), his distilling consultant, toured our group through the facility and explained the process of creating their award-winning spirits.

Stills at Finger Lakes Distilling

Finger Lakes Distilling has advanced technologies to produce its award-winning spirits / Photo: Clark Hoskin

Finger Lakes Distillings’ rye whiskeys and gins have earned critical acclaim in specialized publications focused on spirits and alcohol.

Finger Lakes Distilling was voted favourite stop of Day 2.

This was just one of the stops along the way on the Norfolk County Finger Lakes Study Tour. Watch this blog for more chapters in the story. See photos of the trip on the Invest in Norfolk facebook page.

(c) Clark Hoskin 2015

Finger Lakes Study Tour blog posts

  • Part 1: Wine & Culinary Centre | Technology Farm
  • Part 2: Winewagen Tours
  • Part 3: Weaverview Farms | Milly’s Pantry
  • Part 4: Yates County Arts Centre | Finger Lakes Ec Dev
  • Part 5: Climbing Bines Hop Yard & Brewery
  • Part 6: Wiemer Vineyards | Glenora Cellars
  • Part 7: Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel | Ice Bar
  • Part 8: Finger Lakes Distilling
  • Part 9: Cornell Lab of Ornithology | Ithaca Commons
  • Part 10: Americana Vineyards
  • Part 11: Seneca County Army Depot
  • Part 12: Seneca Falls
  • Part 13: Warfields Restaurant
  • Part 14: Debriefing at The Combine